Which would you rather have in your life: justice or grace? There is a struggle that tends to pervade our humanity; we want grace beyond measure for ourselves while desiring ultimate justice, or more likely judgment, for everyone else. So many in this moment we need to recognize who and what exactly a Christian is. First and foremost, a Christian is not someone who is totally perfect but rather is someone who has found and understands forgiveness and is willing to practice it in their everyday, ordinary lives. And second, a Christian is someone who has found new life through being born again through the work of God.
The trouble that we run into in the life of the Church these days is that the average Christian seems to believe that they are “honourary” sinners. There are problems that need to be faced. There are places that are scary and difficult to be in, and the same is true of the times we live in. But we, all of humanity in general and all of within the Church seem to forget that we are part of creation and therefore we are the problem. We have forgotten that the world is in the state its in because we chose to honour ourselves above trusting and participating in life with God and in God’s real presence. So what can be done then about sin? Maybe we need to recognize, first of all that we are the ones who have walked away from God; that we are the ones who have fallen short and who have missed the mark. It is a necessary step to seeing who God sees and allowing ourselves to see who we are in the light of Christ.
Then we need to go beyond the transaction of being revealed and being forgiven our falleness into allowing God to transform us into the people that he made us to be in the first place. In short we need to be judged, to be healed and then built up into the full stature of Christ himself. How is that possible? We tend to allow the thinking in our society that grace, hope, love are mutually exclusive from sin, judgment and justice. If we make a careful examination of Scripture we discover that this is not so. Remember John 3.16? it used be everywhere when you would watch televised sporting events in particular. It was referred to as the “everybody verse.” But we can see how God justice and love coincide in just this one verse. This is how I would translate the verse: God so loved this God hating world so much that he offered his one and only begotten Son so that those who would participate in him would not died but live abundant life eternally. In effect we chose to live or not live with Christ; we judge Christ and out of the judgment God honours the choices we make.
Having to look up and see the Saviour on the Cross is to help us see who we and to consider who God is. God is at work to return what rightfully belongs to him to its rightful place. What we need to learn in this life is to look up and in spite of what we think we see, to trust him for what is ahead. We need to learn to recognize that even when we fall and come short of what God wants and intends for us both personally and corporately that God still makes the way possible. When we are not the Christians and the Church that we are supposed to be, our Jesus is still the Jesus he promised he would be. Moreover, we need to recognize that Christ walks with us through the troubles, the pain and suffering rather than removing all the obstacles so that life is easy. He is with us and he provides for what is needed to move through. He is our daily bread.
So let us look up to him who is our bread, our life and live, to wait for his grace and his justice knowing that he is with us in all of life along the way to the Kingdom and eternity.